NASHVILLE, Tenn. ⏤ The Tennessee Titans owe a lot to RB D’Onta Foreman.

Something they don’t owe him, though, is significant playing time in the postseason.

Foreman was the Titans’ primary running back in the final nine games of the regular season, a role he assumed following Derrick Henry’s regular-season-ending foot injury.

NEXT MAN UP

As the leader of the Titans’ backfield, Foreman did everything the team and fans could have possibly hoped for.

He recorded three 100-yard rushing performances, including a mildly heroic 108-yard effort in a loss to the Steelers. He averaged a respectable 4.3 yards per carry. He converted several key short-yardage situations.

“We had him last year, and we are very comfortable with him,” head coach Mike Vrabel said. “He showed the ability to fit into our run scheme as well as hit some runs. I think he is a very good natural runner.”

Despite Foreman’s regular-season success and the fact that he’s likely earned himself a starting role elsewhere in 2022, the Titans need to let him fade in the background during the playoffs.

That’s because Henry, over 10 weeks removed from his foot injury, is coming back.

The Titans designated Henry to return from injured reserve on Jan. 5, and he practiced that afternoon. Every sign points to him being ready to go for the Titans’ first playoff game in the divisional round.

Assuming that’s true, Tennessee must let him resume his role as the team’s offensive engine.

A DIFFERENT BREED

Henry will obviously be the starter upon his return, but the volume of his workload remains to be seen.

It’s perhaps possible that the team views Foreman as an effective enough option to give him a chunk of postseason opportunities, something several fans have outspokenly deemed to be a good idea.

While that would be a neat story and good for Foreman, it wouldn’t put the Titans in the best possible position to win games in January. That’s all Vrabel and the entire organization care about.

Foreman is good, but he is nowhere near Henry’s level of talent.

Henry’s combination of size, burst, speed and physicality is of a caliber that the NFL hasn’t seen since Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson last took the field for the Falcons in 1993.

Every time he gets the ball, even if the blocking in front of him isn’t that good, he has a legitimate chance of scoring a touchdown.

As they seek to win a Super Bowl during the ensuing month, the Titans need to give themselves as many of those chances as possible.

That’s not to say there’s no scenario where Foreman should get the ball. If Henry needs a breather and the Titans want to run the ball, Foreman should get those carries.

But anyone who’s paid even a little attention to Henry’s NFL career knows that he rarely, if ever, needs a rest. His level of conditioning is almost unbelievable.

Foreman definitely saved the Titans in the regular season when Henry went down. He deserves praise, respect and admiration for that.

Now, it’s time, again, for Tennessee to let it rip with the man fans call “the king.”Cover image: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today